Hong Kong district council elections 2019 see stunning victory for pan-democrats

Hongkongers turned out in record numbers to vote, expelling the previous majority of pro-Beijing seat-holders

Susan Ramsay |

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Sunday's election saw a record number of voters show up.

Pro-Beijingers were handed a blistering defeat in the Hong Kong 2019 district council elections. The vote, held on Sunday, returned 17 of the 18 districts to the opposition. Previously the pro-Bejing crew had held all 18 districts.

There was a record turnout of voters, with almost 2.94 million Hongkongers, or 72 per cent of the possible electorate, casting ballots.

Young candidates, many of whom had been active in the anti-government protests over the past six months, were among the top winners. At least five activists from the Occupy protests in 2014 won seats. Student activist Lester Shum booted Chow Ping-tim from Tsuen Wan’s Hoi Bun constituency. 

“The government must respond to our five demands as soon as possible,” he said. “We can be happy for tonight and take a rest tomorrow, but we will need to keep up our fight the day after for the future of Hong Kong.”

The convenor of the Civil Human Rights Front, Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit, still using crutches following his attack by hammer-wielding thugs, won his seat and called on Chief Executive Carrie Lam Yuet-ngor to listen to the people and address the five demands.

Kelvin Lam Ho-por, who replaced Occupy co-founder Joshua Wong Chi-fung after he was disqualified from standing, won his seat in South Horizons West, beating Judy Chan Kapui of the New People’s Party by 1,000 votes.

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The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) were left reeling. They fielded 179 candidates and managed to score only 21 seats. Their chairwoman, Starry Lee Wai-king narrowly held on to her seat in To Kwa Wan North, to defeat veteran rights campaigner “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung.

But perhaps the biggest loser of the day was Junius Ho Kwan-yu, the first high-profile incumbant of the pro-Beijing camp to be unseated.

Junius Ho (centre) described the loss of his district council seat as 'strange'.

Ho, who became a hate figure for the pro-democracy movement in the city after he was filmed shaking hands with men believed to have been involved in a vicious attack on protesters and passengers at Yuen Long MTR station on July 21, did not win any sympathy votes despite suffering a knife attack just three weeks before the elections.

Ho lost his Tuen Mun constituency to democrat Cary Lo Chun-yu, 2,278 to 3,474.

In a Facebook post, Ho described his loss as “strange” and “regrettable”. He won more votes this time but not enough to keep his seat.

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“I’m moved, the opposition overwhelmed me with congratulations. It is not a bad thing to transform their brutality to harmony,” he wrote.

The next big name to fall was lawmaker Michael Tien Puk-sun who lost his Discovery Park constituency in Tsuen Wan to pro-democracy candidate Lau Cheuk-yu. Other key pro-Beijingers to lose their seats were Holden Chow Ho-ding, Horace Cheung Kwok-kwan, Vincent Cheung Wing-shun and Edward Lau Kwok-fan.

Federation of Trade Unions’ legislators Alice Mak Mei-kuen and Ho Kai-ming were also tossed out.

Since the pro-democracy bloc have won majorities on nearly all of the district councils, they are likely to be awarded about 120 seats on the election committee that selects the city’s chief executive.